Advancement & Awards

Advancement Guidelines

Advancement is an integral part of the Scouting program which provides recognition for individual effort and accomplishment, as well as a measure of acquired proficiency in basic skills. Advancement is a three- part obligation of:
  • The Scout to take the initiative and to work;
  • The parents to encourage excellence;
  • The adult leaders of the Troop to provide guidance and opportunity.
Requirements for advancement are described in the Scout Handbook and other Scout literature. Both Scout and parent should be thoroughly familiar with the requirements. The Scoutmaster, Advancement Chairman, and other adult leaders as well as the Scout leadership can answer questions about getting started on the "Trail to Eagle." Rank advancements, merit badges, and most other awards will be presented as soon as practicable after being earned, pproved, certified, and registered. They also will be recognized at the next Family Night Dinner/Court of Honor.

A Scout who is not steadily advancing to 1st Class rank is missing a vital part of the program. Advancement beyond 1st Class is attainable through the opportunities which the Troop provides, but it also requires determination, initiative, and leadership on the part of the Scout. Guidelines indicating the maximum amounts of time that should elapse from joining to the attainment of each rank up through 1st Class are listed below. If these are not being met, the Scout and/or parents should contact the Advancement Chairman.

 Tenderfoot 3 months
 2nd Class 9 months
 1st Class 18 months

These are maximums; an active, well motivated Scout can achieve 1st Class within 12 months. Troop 116 strongly encourages Eagle candidates to have both the Swimming and Lifesaving merit badges, the Cooking merit badge, and the 50-Miler Award.

Merit Badge Protocols

Merit badges are an integral part of advancement for ranks above First Class. Merit badges are important for the Scout to learn new skills, to work outside the normal Troop meeting with an adult counselor, and to present what he has done. Some weekly meeting programs and most of the planned monthly outings include counselors and opportunities for working toward and passing off merit badge requirements. Prior and outside preparation is required. Requirements for earning merit badges include the following steps to be taken by the Scout.

  1. Get approval from the Scoutmaster prior to beginning work on a merit badge. This is done by obtaining a merit badge "blue card" and asking the Scoutmaster to sign it.  He will advise you about possible merit badge counselors who are registered for the desired badge.
  2. Obtain the desired merit badge book and become familiar with the requirements of the badge. The Troop has a limited supply of merit badge books which may be checked out from the Troop Librarian. Some are old and out of date. Be sure to check the book date to insure it is the current version.
  3. With the advice and assistance of the Scoutmaster, find a merit badge counselor who is registered for the desired badge. The Scoutmaster and Advancement Chairman maintain a list of such adults and can assist the Scout in finding an appropriate counselor. It is best that a parent not sign a merit badge card as counselor for his own son.
  4. Before beginning any requirements for the badge, contact the assigned merit badge counselor to get his agreement to be your counselor and to get any instructions he may have for completion of requirements to his satisfaction.
  5. Successfully complete all the requirements to the satisfaction of the designated counselor and have the him sign and date the merit badge card. Prior to presenting the merit badge card to the counselor for signature, the Scout should enter in ink his name & address, troop, district, council, counselor name & address, and name of merit badge into the appropriate spaces on the card. The Scout should leave all dates blank. Dates are entered by the Scoutmaster or counselor when signing.
  6. Present the completed merit badge card to the Scoutmaster for his second signature and processing.

Advancement Board of Review Protocols

A Scout coming before an Advancement Board of Review should be thoroughly familiar with what was done for the rank applied for, including merit badge work completed for the rank. He must be in proper and complete Official Scout Uniform (with merit badge sash). Scouts who are ready to advance and want to shedule a Board of Review should do the following:

  1. Insure that all requirements have been completed.
  2. Ask the Scoutmaster for a "Scoutmaster Conference." It is advisable to give him at least a week's notice.
  3. Participate in a practice or pre-Board of Review. The Senior Patrol Leader will assist in selecting an appropriate leadership Scout who can schedule and conduct a pre-board.
  4. Ask the Asst. Advancement Chairman to schedule a Board of Review for you. He will also need at least a week's notice.
    • The Asst. Advancement Chairman will need at least one week advance notice to make an appointment for you and schedule the other needed adult resources.
    • If you later find you cannot come to your Board of Review at the appointed time, you must contact the Asst. Advancement Chairman as soon as possible to cancel. Other adult resources will have been committed for your Board that must be cancelled or reallocated. Being a no-show is discourteous and will reflect unfavorably on you.
Requirements for a Scout appearing before a Board of Review are as follows:
  1. Be in proper and complete Official Scout Uniform with merit badge sash.
  2. Bring your Scout Handbook.
  3. Bring your merit badge "blue cards" for merit badges earned and required for the rank being applied for.
  4. Bring rope and poles suitable for tying the required knots and lashings.
  5. Bring your compass and a topo map.
  6. Bring any merit badge books and/or written work or project documentation that is applicable.
Rank advancements, merit badges, and most other awards will be presented as soon as practicable after being earned, approved, certified, and registered. They also will be recognized at the next Family Night Dinner/Court of Honor.

Boards of Review Overview, Requirements and Responsibilities

Boards of Review must be conducted in accordance with the current issue of the BSA publication, Guide to Advancement. For Tenderfoot through Life ranks, the board of review consists of no fewer than three to no more than six troop committee members. Scoutmasters and assistants may not serve on a board of review for a Scout in their own troop. Parents or guardians may not serve on a board for their son. The candidate or his parent(s) or guardian(s) shall have no part in selecting any board of review members. The review should not take more than 30 minutes.

For Eagle boards of review at least one district or council representative must serve as a member. If the troop requests it, more than one may do so. There shall be no fewer than three and no more than six members, all at least 21 years old. They need not be on an advancement committee or registered with the Boy Scouts of America, but they must have an understanding of the rank and the purpose and importance of the review. A board of review may not occur until after the local council has verified the application.

The purpose of a Scout appearing before a Board of Review is to determine the quality of his experience, decide whether he is qualified to advance, and if so, encourage him to continue the quest for Eagle or the next Palm. During the review, board members may refer to the Scout Handbook, Scoutmaster Handbook, and other references. A Scout may be asked where he learned his skills and who taught him, and what he gained from fulfilling selected requirements. The answers will reveal what he did for his rank. It can be determined, then, if this was what he was supposed to do. Discussion of how he has lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in his home, troop, school, and community should be included.

Ranks and Palms may not be presented until the advancement is reported to the local council through the BSA's Internet Advancement or on the official Advancement Report form.

A Scout advances from Tenderfoot to Eagle by doing things with his patrol and troop, with his leaders, and on his own. A well-rounded and active troop program that generates advancement as a natural outcome should take Scouts to First Class in their first 12 to 18 months of membership. Advancement beyond 1st Class is attainable through the opportunities which the Troop provides, but it also requires determination, initiative, and leadership on the part of the Scout.